Blog / Provider Resources

December 01, 2022

Care Navigators: Partnering with Providers to Help Employees Feel Better, Faster

5 minute read

Provider Resources

Written by

Amy Cirbus avatar

Amy Cirbus

Head of Clinical Content, Spring Health

Spring Health’s Care Navigators are licensed, master’s level clinicians who offer guidance and personalized support to help employees feel better, faster.

They assist our providers with patient matching, referrals for specialty services, setting patient expectations, and building therapeutic alliances, and provide ongoing support across a wide range of other needs.  

Spring Health studies have shown that employees who work with a Care Navigator are eight times more likely to see a therapist and stay with the same provider. Additionally, employees who are high risk and meet with their Care Navigator improve at a clinical rate that’s almost double those who don’t. 

Care Navigator Madison Shannon is sharing what her days look like, what inspires her about this work, and what she wants you to know about Care Navigation.

Amy: Tell us about your clinical background and experience.

Madison: As a clinical social worker, I’ve always had roles in novel or unique care models. My initial role was an embedded social worker in primary care practices, with the idea of catching mental health problems at the primary source of where they present: the doctor’s office. 

It was a new and innovative model of community care, where I was the warm hand-off of care from the primary physician, and I set people up with services for their needs. I absolutely loved it. 

Amy: What brought you to Spring Health?

Madison: I remember looking at the Care Navigator role and being curious about it. I really wanted to be back in nontraditional forms of care. 

Approaching mental healthcare in a unique way is so needed. I want to be in a place where things are growing, where every day is different, and where my role will be ever changing as the company grows and changes. 

Amy: It sounds like your days are all different.

Madison: I have about six scheduled calls per day. If I’m doing my job well, I like to think of those as a mini intake—asking what brought a member here, determining a functioning level around symptoms, and assessing risk. 

We have unscheduled things that arise every day too, like reaching out to members who have high acuity on assessments, answering clinical questions from the care management team, collaborating on cases, and researching care options. 

Amy: What about this role do you feel most inspired by or connected to?

Madison: It strikes a good balance for me. This role allows me an opportunity for connection, to provide psychoeducation, and to offer employees a positive experience within a mental health service—especially if it’s their first time, which is the case for many. 

I love when employees tell me, “This is so much better than I thought!” And I can say yes, this is how it’s supposed to be. 

As a Care Navigator, I’m bringing value to that first intake appointment, which delivers value to the enrolled employee and the provider. When a Care Navigator interacts with a member first, the provider has the insights and information that can help them best understand and serve the member. It lays the foundation for great rapport—and clinicians know that rapport accounts for half of what makes treatment successful. 

Amy: What do you want our providers to know?

Madison: Private practices can be so isolating and scary, even if you’re the best clinician. You may not always see us, but Care Navigators are always there

We’re monitoring the assessments and we’re adding all of the notes to the patient’s chart. We’re screening for high risk and high acuity, and we’re reaching out to those members to try to engage them and find the most appropropriate clinician. 

Providers can reach out to us, too. There’s always the opportunity for collaboration. We’re a true clinical safety net. I want providers to know they’re not alone in managing the care of our high acuity members. 

The system is designed to take the weight off of the provider, so they can focus on the client. By having highly skilled case management, the system is set up to manage time and burnout.  

Amy: How do you take care of yourself after supporting others all day?

Madison: I clearly mark the beginning and end of my day. Not having to take it home with me is huge.  

I love working from home and not having to commute. I go for a walk in the mornings and eat my lunch outside. I love to cook, so I prep dinner in the mornings. I can walk my dog right after I log off. 

Personal life should come first. It makes you a better employee overall, and this environment allows me to do that for the first time ever as a clinician. 

I want to do my best for each member’s unique experience. That means being an active listener, being really engaged, and really caring. To do that, I need to take a break when things get heavy. 

I don’t feel like there’s any shame or negative repercussions to reaching out and asking for coverage for 20 minutes. It’s understood. And I can be at my best when I take 20 minutes when needed. 

Spring Health allows me to put my personal life first and my work life second. Before I started, Spring Health felt like a revolutionary idea around care, and I had hoped that as an employee, the approach to me would also be unique. 

And I found that definitely to be true. The approach here is not just do your best, but be at your best. That value is actively demonstrated here.

Interested in becoming a Spring Health provider?

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About the Author

Amy Cirbus avatar

Amy Cirbus

Head of Clinical Content, Spring Health

Amy is a Counseling Psychologist with over 20 years of experience in direct clinical care, organizational consultation, and telemental health. She is passionate about providing equitable access and raising awareness on the importance of investing in our mental health and wellbeing. For the past four years, Amy has focused on supporting the evolution of telehealth— previously at Talkspace and currently as the Head of Clinical Content at Spring Health. She is a contributor to national podcasts and publications, most notably the New York Times, Wall Street journal, Forbes, Thrive Global, and Business Insider.